Working in a global company makes Carrie Rossman, GB’12, well aware of the need for an international business perspective. The MBA student studied abroad in her undergraduate years and has traveled to Europe and Brazil for work, but the consulting project she took on for her international residency — a course requirement for the University of Richmond’s MBA program — gave her insight into the important intersections between business and culture.

Rossman and her classmates traveled to Córdoba, Argentina during the University’s spring break. There, they broke into groups and met with different Argentine companies, each with a specific business issue. Rossman’s group worked with a business that is looking to expand into the North American market.

“They want us to go through their business plan and identify where there are gaps and what recommendations we can make for them,” she says. As she and her group prepare their report — a presentation with voiceovers that they will send to the company — they will have to take into consideration cultural differences.

“Here in North America, we’re so used to doing business by contracts. In Argentina it was all about the relationships,” she says. “Our [company’s] president had great relationships with his suppliers, with his customers — and that’s how he’s growing his business, and how he’s so successful. It’s a pretty different way of doing business.”

Rossman, who works full-time as a sourcing manager at MeadWestvaco, advocates keeping an open mind in this kind of situation. As preparation for the international residency, her class learned about Argentina from a series of guest lecturers, giving a framework for understanding the differences they encountered.

“We had enough background from political, economic, cultural standpoints that we kind of had some idea of what to expect,” she says. “We all just went with an open mind. And we understood that it’s a different country, they operate differently and you have to be open to anything that could come your way.”

In addition to the consultancy project, the students toured a car manufacturing facility and had some free time to explore areas of personal interest. The Spanish-speakers like Rossman tested their language skills while a translator interpreted for the other students.

“Being immersed in a different culture is always fascinating. You learn so much just being there as opposed to listening in a classroom,” Rossman says of the opportunity. “I have a big interest in global experience. I think these consultancy projects are a great way to get global perspective.”

She also will participate in the summer international residency, which will be held in Budapest, Hungary this year.

“Since I work in a global organization, I think it makes me that much more prepared for what the next opportunities are — being able to say I’ve worked internationally, especially in Argentina,” she says. “We have operations in Argentina, so if a position becomes available, it’s going to be a great thing to say that I’ve had experience there.”